THE US-based World Lung Foundation (WLF) has, for the past six years, spent 12 million US dollars (about 19.2bn/-) to improve maternal health services in Kigoma, Morogoro and Coast regions.This was revealed in Dar es Salaam by the WLF's Chief Executive Office, Peter Baldini, shortly after meeting the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Seif Suleiman Rashid. Mr Baldini was in the country to inspect projects conducted by the foundation.
"The core aspect of the WLF programme in Tanzania is to decrease maternal and infant mortality through targeted enhancements of emergency obstetric care in rural health centres," Mr Baldini noted.Through the programme, the foundation has funded training of health care workers, improvement of infrastructure at health centres as well as provision of equipment.
This has thus enabled setting up of emergency units which are equipped with operating theatres for complicated cases where the women require caesarean section."A lot of lives have been saved as women who hitherto could not access improved medical care are now having services such as caesarean operations at nearby facilities," according to WLF's Country Director Nguke Mwakatundu. Adding; "Last year alone in Kigoma Region, 171 caesarean operations were conducted and this helped to save lives of the mothers."He noted also that some 106 mid-level health workers including clinical officers and assistant medical officers were provided with training that equipped them with skills to attend expectant mothers.
Dr Mwakatundu explained further that the three regions were chosen for the programme since maternal health indicators were very low in the regions."For instance, in Kigoma maternal health indicators showed that only 33 per cent of women give birth at health facilities while at the same time only 14 per cent of women there use contraceptives for family planning," the WLF Country Director explained.During the meeting with the WLF executives, Minister Rashid hailed the foundation for the programme and urged it to expand its services to other parts of the country."The Government of Tanzania appreciates the work that has been done in these regions and we pledge further cooperation towards improving maternal health care," the Minister said.
WLF was established in 2004 in response to the global epidemic of lung disease, which kills 10 million people each year. It mainly focuses lowand middle-income countries, where lung diseases take their greatest toll.The organization's areas of emphasis include tobacco control, indoor air pollution, tuberculosis, and acute respiratory infections. The organization also works on maternal and infant mortality reduction initiatives.

No comments: